Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lessons Learned from a Hospital

I am sorry for not posting lately, but my Grandfather has been in the hospital this past week.  I am not sure when he will be out, and once he is released, he will need to go to an in-patient rehab unit to mend further.  Postings will be scattered for a while.

While I have been staying with him in the hospital, I have learned several things:

No one is in a hurry at a hospital.  This week has been nothing but hurry up and wait. Like Granddaddy said, once they have you, they own you.  Isn't that the truth?

There is something wrong with the emergency room system.  I probably don't need to elaborate on this one.  But when the ambulance drivers line up five deep in the hallway with their stretchers and have to wait forty minutes to hand off their patient to the ER nurse, something is not quite right.

You need your family.  I inherited two patients last week.  My Grandfather's roommate was an old blind man named Willie with no family member to stay with him.  He needed help with everything and the nurses were very busy. Each time I cut up Willie's food and fed him, he thanked me and said my Grandfather was sure lucky to have family.  He was lonely and talked a lot.  I know all about Willie's life story now and I wonder when the last time it was that he was able to tell it.  His son arrived on Friday to take Willie to a nursing home.  

Hospitals are filled with stories.  I wonder about the young woman who was wheeled back by her husband to the oncology floor, her hair freshly washed and wrapped in a towel.  Or the same man I saw day after day smoking a cigarette outside in his hospital gown and iv pole.  Or the man who was dressed to the nines, complete with a snazzy hat, and walked around and around the halls with his iv dragging behind, like he had somewhere very important to go.  

Nurses really do care.  One particular day when Granddaddy was feeling blue, five nurses and a cleaning person piled into his room and began to sing a song complete with hand motions to cheer him up.  He smiled.

1 comment:

Juana said...

This post is thoughtful and sweet. I hope your grandfather is making progress and that you are getting some relief.